This sweet and spicy barbecue rub recipe for chicken performs the double duty of giving chicken a burst of flavor while also creating a pleasant crust. The rub recipe makes enough to prepare 2 pounds of boneless chicken or 4 pounds of bone-in chicken, but you can easily double or triple the recipe and store the extra in an airtight container for up to 3 months so you can have it on hand throughout the grilling season.


Recipe Summary

1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare rub: Combine chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, ginger and cayenne in a small bowl.

  • To season chicken: Remove giblets from chicken and trim any excess skin and fat. Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Sprinkle and pat the dry rub under and over the skin of the chicken. Let stand for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes before grilling.

  • To grill chicken: Preheat a gas grill to medium or build a two-zone fire (coals on one side of the grill) in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400 degrees F).

  • Hold the chicken upright and fit the opening of the cavity over a vertical grilling rack.

  • If using a gas grill, turn off part of the grill (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). Place the chicken on the grill rack over the unlit part. Close the lid and grill until the chicken is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. (If using a charcoal grill, add 10 coals after the first 30 minutes to maintain the heat.) Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.


Make Ahead Tip: Store the rub, airtight, for up to 1 month.

Equipment: Vertical grilling rack

Nutrition Facts

3-4 oz.
232 calories; protein 32.6g; carbohydrates 5.1g; dietary fiber 1.4g; sugars 3.2g; fat 8.4g; saturated fat 2.2g; cholesterol 97.5mg; vitamin a iu 1032.1IU; vitamin c 0.1mg; folate 7.7mcg; calcium 36mg; iron 2.2mg; magnesium 32.7mg; potassium 335.9mg; sodium 754.7mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 3g.

4 1/2 lean meat